Hi, I'm Claire, I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Registered Midwife and mother to four beautiful children. Through my education, career and experience, I have the skills and knowledge to help you work out your baby’s feeding, sleep and health issues.
Working in collaboration with your midwife, GP, Plunket nurse and pediatrician we will achieve the best outcome for you and your baby.
I am privileged to be the mother of four beautiful children however, my first passion was music. I graduated from Otago university with a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance Violin but when we welcomed our first child into the world in 1996, I embarked on a steep learning curve of parenting and health care that continues to this day. By 2001, with the arrival of our third child, I realised that our midwife had been pivotal in our success and confidence in the early days as new parents. I then realised that midwifery was a vocation that I had been inspired to embark upon.
During my training, we welcomed our fourth child into the world and we were surprised to learn at her birth that she had been born minus a soft or hard palate. Our older three children had all exclusively breastfed for over a year. I was ‘that Mum’ that found breastfeeding relatively easy once I had learnt the tricks and techniques. I now needed to think outside the square….. think about how to best feed this tiny baby who could not suck and was not gaining weight.
My experience with Isabella’s early days highlighted for me the plight of parents for whom breastfeeding as such is not an option. Or for whom, despite desperately wanting to breastfeed, the struggle is just overwhelming
I graduated as a registered midwife in 2007 and started practice as an independent LMC midwife in 2008.
In my 15 years as an independent midwife, I had the privilege of working with families from a wide range of socio-economic, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. I also enjoyed working with same-sex couples one of whom was the last family that I cared for in the role of LMC midwife. My career was enriched by the opportunity to learn from the families that I worked with. For each of the 100s of women and babies that I cared for, there were never two stories that were the same. Each and every woman’s experience of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period and every newborn’s experience of ‘the early days' is different. As a health professional, I have learnt that the key to effective care is the ability to adapt and mould my practice to the specific needs of each and every individual woman, baby and family.
I enjoy supporting families to breastfeed/chest-feed their babies. However, I also ensure that families that choose not to breastfeed, or who want to breastfeed but can’t for whatever reason do not feel judged and are well informed and supported in their choice.
As a student midwife, I was taught that my reputation as an LMC would rise and fall on the quality of the postnatal care I provided. The testimonials of women I have cared for reflect that this concept has remained pivotal to my practice.
A Lactation Consultant…..
Commonly parents call in an LC as they become overwhelmed by the reality of the breastfeeding dyad. New parents and their babies are often discharged from hospital within 2-3 days of birth. This timing coincides with the establishment of lactation, meaning that babies who might have been latching well in the first couple of days are suddenly unsettled and struggling to latch. This may lead to nipple trauma on breasts that are often engorged. The end result is an unsettled baby as well as unsettled parents and a really uncomfortable Mum who, if not well counselled, may be at risk of infection.
I can help you manage feeding patterns, teach you what to expect, what is normal and what isn’t as well as how to manage nipple pain, engorgement and unsettled babies.
The qualification of an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) does not come easily. It has only ever been issued to approximately 36,000 people worldwide. To qualify, you need to prove to have had over 1000 breastfeeding-specific hours working as a health professional, 500 hours of lactation-specific education, and then pass a rigorous 175-question examination.
My experience as a midwife, combined with the unique experiences of nurturing each of my four children, led me to identify my niche specialty in postnatal care and breastfeeding.
I cared for my last family in the role of an LMC midwife in March 2022 and learnt that I had qualified as an IBCLC shortly afterwards.
I remain registered as a midwife but will now be putting all of my energies into the early days of newborn life and parenthood.
I am now fulfilling my dream of working both as a professional violinist by night and lactation and postnatal consultant by day.